Jessica Cutler is supposed to have already had her 15 minutes of fame. Jessica, you might recall, is the former staff assistant to Republican Sen. Mike DeWine who got fired in May for using government time and a government-supplied computer to post the details of her colorful and financially remunerative sex life on the Internet via her now-defunct Washingtonienne blog.
The blog ran only two weeks or so, but Cutler got the usual goodies out of the imbroglio: book contract, Playboy spread (to be out in a couple of weeks), and much what-does-this-say-about-the-way-we-live-now? hand-wringing from the usual array of feminista media types. The idea seemed to be that Cutler’s firing was an example of the double standard bcause the men with whom Jessica did nooners and in some cases evening-ers didn’t get fired from their jobs. Of course none of those men, as far as we know, was using the taxpayers’ dime to record his snogging sprees, but whatever. Plus, Jessica had been working for a Republican when she got canned, and one of her paying companions, she claimed, was a highly placed Bush administration honcho. So the media scrambled for a hypocrisy-in-the-Bush-administration story for a while, but then the story died down when no names materialized that could be tied to much of anything.
Now Jessica is back, the subject of a cover story for the Washington Post magazine by April Witt, who raises the art of feminista hand-wringing to new heights. Back of course, is the old double-standard red herring; Jessica Cutler was fired for “her audacious refusal to keep the pawing patriarchy’s dirty secrets,” Witt implies. Her playmates were “more powerful” men. The “men she wrote about kept their jobs.” Jessica was a victim. A senior woman in DeWine’s office–not her supervisor, says the office–who set her up on a date with one of those men “pimped her out,” in the words of one of Jessica’s pals, and what does it say about our society that the woman’s not being charged with sexual harassment? Anita Hill, Naomi Wolf–they’re in the story, too–although I couldn’t help but notice that Witt omitted mentioning Wolf’s ludicrous claim that her former professor Harold Bloom put his hand on her thigh one snockered night these 20 years ago.
Witt also seems to take at face value Jessica’s claim that she was shocked, shocked to discover that the steamy stuff that she’d posted on the public Internet was actually being read by the public. Where has Jessica been all these recent years?
But Witt reserves her greatest shock for her discovery, via the antics of Jessica Cutler, is that the female sexual revolution touted by Ms. Magazine and others, in which women were supposed to be liberated into the guilt-free polyamory that comes naturally to men has, well, backfired. Having promiscuous sex with older men for money apparently wasn’t what Gloria Steinem had in mind back in the early 1970s. Witt writes:
“The sexual revolution, now stripped of much of its feminist political ideology, has left legions of young women free but confused.”
What did the feministas expect? Once pretty young women are told that they, too, can have unlimited numbers of lovers without experiencing either guilt or the social sanctions of ages past, why should they stick to beery encounters with fumbling $25,000-a-year Hill staffers their own age? Why should they give away what married older gentlemen are willing to pay for via expensive dinners, clothes, and showers of cash? One of Jessica Cutler’s passions is “cute outfits,” as she told Witt (contrary to rad-fem dogma that liberated women should want to look ugly). How many cute outfits could Jessica afford if she indulged in emotion-free sex for “pleasure,” as one of her feminista contemporaries says should be the rule, instead of for money?
The sad thing about Jessica is that she’s a good-looking gal with great clothes sense and, by her own account, a high I.Q. To date, however, she’s done very little to put those gifts to work. She declined to graduate from college, she scorns real work (the Senate staff job wasn’t the first she was fired from for either refusing to perform her duties or giving lip to clients and supervisors), and she’s subtracted a couple of years from her age (she’s 26, not 24, as she’s said). Young women, no matter how pretty, have two highly serious jobs and only a few years in which to settle themselves into one or both of them: finding a suitable husband and preparing themselves for a solid career, be it practicing law, teaching school, or becoming an interior decorator (a profession for which Jessica clearly has the talent). Soon enough, surprisingly soon, the offers from Playboy, the free spreads at Citronelle, and the $500 here and there will come to an end.
Maybe, though, Jessica is smarter than I think, and that book contract will prove to be an opening to a viable future for her. Jessica, here’s a tip: write the chick lit; don’t live it.